City Escape: Hartford, Connecticut

Text: James T. Parks • Photography: James T. Parks

This daytrip is generally a laid-back ramble through the Connecticut countryside. Riders don’t have to travel far from urban Hartford to experience classic New England scenery and historic locations, some of which date from America’s Industrial Revolution. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and points of interest along the way.

Length

Approximately 162 miles

Meetup Spot

Dunkin’, 2751 Main St, Glastonbury, CT

Lunch Stop

Cafemantic offers a healthy, diverse menu of locally sourced food from farms and the sea. The cafe serves seasonal dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Find it at 948 Main St, Willimantic, CT, (860) 423-4243, www.cafemantic.com.

Scenery (3 out of 5)

The New England ambiance and views of the Connecticut River while crossing on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry are inspiring.

Difficulty (2 out of 5)

The terrain and roads are not difficult to negotiate and are suitable for most any motorcycle and level of riding experience.

Road Conditions (2 out of 5)

Some roads may be rough because of the residual effects of harsh winter weather.

Points of Interest

  1. Gillette Castle State Park
    William Gillette, a successful actor, director, and playwright, began building his 184-acre estate in East Haddam in 1914. It took a 20-man team five years to complete the steel-supported stone structure. www.tinyurl.com/gillette-castle
  2. The Frog Bridge, Willimantic, CT
    Where South Street crosses the Willimantic River is a bridge with four giant frog sculptures, each sitting atop an oversize spool of thread. The statues commemorate the 1754 event known as the Windham Frog Fight, when, during a drought, hordes of frogs descended on this area and fought over access to one remaining pond. www.tinyurl.com/frog-bridge
  3. Historic Putnam, CT
    Putnam is an 18th century mill town built to utilize the Quinebaug River’s power for textile and grist mills. www.ctvisit.com/listings/town-putnam